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Is it cheaper to buy PE upfront or addon later? [UA International]

Is it cheaper to buy PE upfront or addon later? [UA International]

Old Aug 28, 19, 9:35 pm
  #1  
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Is it cheaper to buy PE upfront or addon later? [UA International]

So I am doing a trip DFW to somewhere in south east asia (haven't decided yet) later this year. I see on google flights it is like $900 roundtrip for economy on United, and $1400 for premium economy. Is it advisable to get Economy for now then buy premium economy for the couple long legs or should I just pay the extra $500 upfront and get premium economy all the way? Based on the experience I have (havent paid much attention in the past) it looks like it is cheaper to buy PE upfront? Any conventional wisdom on this?
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Old Aug 30, 19, 3:42 am
  #2  
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It's pretty much impossible to say for certain. Personally, I would buy the ticket for the cabin I want to sit in, not hope for some shenanigans to play out later.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 6:09 am
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Originally Posted by federernadal View Post
So I am doing a trip DFW to somewhere in south east asia (haven't decided yet) later this year. I see on google flights it is like $900 roundtrip for economy on United, and $1400 for premium economy. Is it advisable to get Economy for now then buy premium economy for the couple long legs or should I just pay the extra $500 upfront and get premium economy all the way? Based on the experience I have (havent paid much attention in the past) it looks like it is cheaper to buy PE upfront? Any conventional wisdom on this?
I'd venture to say that like everything else, it would come down to supply and demand for paid upgrade offers at check-in for example, vice today's pricing offer. Usually very hard to predict. Even if you found folks with a couple of data points on the same routes, market conditions change.

I'd second LondonElite - if the PE price is one you can afford and you really want PE, just buy it now. If it's not then buy regular Y...if there happens to be a paid upgrade offer later that you consider reasonable, then you can decide then to buy up or just stick with Y.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 10:37 am
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Later this year as in December (e.g. holiday season)?

Also, United does not have true PE on all of its routes.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 5:26 pm
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I would by now, as you don't know what if any will be available later
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Old Sep 2, 19, 12:27 pm
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As the OP is looking at flying UA, we'll move this to the UA forum for now.

~beckoa, co-moderator Information Desk
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Old Sep 2, 19, 1:12 pm
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AFAIK, there have been zero reports of discounted buy-ups to PE post-ticketing.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 2:41 pm
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Are PQDs or miles earned important to you? Some, not all, “cash upgrades” earn miles and PQDs on the buy up/cash upgrade, some do not. Personally, I’d not roll the dice, and think that a $500 difference is well worth it for PP (and I say this as someone who hasn’t actually flown in PP yet).
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Old Sep 2, 19, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by federernadal View Post
So I am doing a trip DFW to somewhere in south east asia (haven't decided yet) later this year. I see on google flights it is like $900 roundtrip for economy on United, and $1400 for premium economy. Is it advisable to get Economy for now then buy premium economy for the couple long legs or should I just pay the extra $500 upfront and get premium economy all the way? Based on the experience I have (havent paid much attention in the past) it looks like it is cheaper to buy PE upfront? Any conventional wisdom on this?
I will pay upfront $500 more round trip for international Premium Plus any day.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
AFAIK, there have been zero reports of discounted buy-ups to PE post-ticketing.
Believe there were a few at check-in, in the $299-ish range into emptier cabins.

But to the OP, if you can get PE for a $500 r/t upcharge TPAC I would lay heavy odds you will never see better. Just take it. The market price without the ongoing fare war caused by everyone rolling out PE was more like $2,500 r/t to give a comparison point.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 4:19 pm
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Originally Posted by federernadal View Post
So I am doing a trip DFW to somewhere in south east asia (haven't decided yet) later this year. I see on google flights it is like $900 roundtrip for economy on United, and $1400 for premium economy. Is it advisable to get Economy for now then buy premium economy for the couple long legs or should I just pay the extra $500 upfront and get premium economy all the way?
I don't know where you will be flying on UA to "south east asia" only destination on UA metal is SIN. That said, Y to any of the pacific destinations will be either on a 10x 777 in Y (where the aisles are narrow and the seats are .6" less in width/per seat than on a 737, or a 787 with .2" less width than on a 737. United is no longer flying 9x 777s (or you are highly unlikely to get one) which had seats that were 1.3" wider than a 737.

So the difference between a Premium Economy Seat (basically a domestic first class seat but with 38" not 36" pitch) and a UA Y seat is quit stark at this point.

The chances that the price drops are not great, PE seems to be selling relatively fast at this point as people realize how horrible United Y has become. I would just pop for it if you will not be comfortable in a slightly narrower 737 seat for 15-17 hours.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Believe there were a few at check-in, in the $299-ish range into emptier cabins.

But to the OP, if you can get PE for a $500 r/t upcharge TPAC I would lay heavy odds you will never see better. Just take it. The market price without the ongoing fare war caused by everyone rolling out PE was more like $2,500 r/t to give a comparison point.
Not sure which routes you've seen PE flights for starting at $2,500 r/t TPAC ... my flight searches ex-PVG for PE were always closer to $1500-$1600 with J flights typically in the $3200-$3800 range.

$400-$500 upcharge seems "normal" from what I've seen over regular economy flights TPAC since the product on UA was rolled out. Feels like a good price point for this flyer for a r/t flight with way more comfort than sitting 3-4-3 for ~10-12 hours.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by SFHokie View Post
Not sure which routes you've seen PE flights for starting at $2,500 r/t TPAC ... my flight searches ex-PVG for PE were always closer to $1500-$1600 with J flights typically in the $3200-$3800 range.
SFO-NRT, SFO-AKL, SFO-FRA on NH/NZ/LH before UA or any of the US majors rolled out PE. The current pricing is great for consumers but I can't imagine profitable in any way for the airlines. They're trying to hook new consumers on PE before gradually raising fares over the next several years.
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Old Sep 2, 19, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
They're trying to hook new consumers on PE before gradually raising fares over the next several years.
If that's the case then call me hooked! With the prices set where they are right now it's a no brainer: for a couple hundred bucks extra you get a more comfortable ride than in regular economy, you get 1.5x PQMs, and you're prioritized higher than most other potential upgraders for any miles + cash or GPUs/RPUs that you might apply.

I'm actually really looking forward to seeing more PP seats ex-PVG when they roll out such equipment to the west coast. (Right now it seems only ORD and EWR have a chance at these seats -- at least until December when the 789s are swapped out PVG-SFO for 772s with PP.)
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